Park Ji-Sung era at Manchester United about to end

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Not sure many of us saw this one coming, mostly because we didn’t bother looking. Park Ji-Sung was a mainstay at Manchester United, and although in recent seasons he seemed to be more injured that active, he always got playing time when healthy. Alex Ferguson always found a use for him in the biggest games, sp why would he move on?

Perhaps because he was in the last year of his deal, he’s 31 years old, and Queens Park Rangers is willing to pay £5 million ($7.7 million) for him? It’s an offer that’s difficult to turn down for somebody who’s essentially a squad player.

That’s why Park seems on his way to London. BBC Sport is reporting the deal’s been agreed to, an while there’s no mention of personal terms, it’s hard to believe this deal went forward without Park being aware of what’s going on.

Park: Manchester United days (2005-2012)

Park spent seven seasons at Manchester United and helped bust a glass ceiling when he was brought in from PSV Eindhoven. There’s still a lack of Asian presentation in the Premier League, but given how scarce Asian soccer players were in the Isles around 2005, there were significant cultural implications to Park’s signing. That Manchester United had previously inked Chinese attacker Dong Fangzhou made the signings look marketing-driven, though unlike Dong, Park world go on to make a major mark.

Over seven seasons, Park made 205 all-competition appearances for United, scoring 27 goals and claiming nine major medals: four Premier League titles; three League Cups; one UEFA Champions League; and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Now he’s set for a move down the table, to a team more likely to fight relegation than league title rivals. The second Manchester United player to switch to Loftus Road this week, Park seems part of an armistice between QPR manager Mark Hughes and Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson. A former player under Ferguson, Hughes had incurred the ire of United with some confrontational antics during his spell at Manchester City. Now, Hughes is leaning on Old Trafford’s spare parts to keep Rangers in the top flight.

Park’s legacy: Meaning beyond the numbers

Should the move go through, it will end one of the more meaningful club tenures in the modern game’s history.

The current state of international soccer is defined as much by globalization as any other phenomenon. In that context, the captain of South Korea’s national team playing for one of the world’s three most recognizable clubs had a profound effect. Park help legitimate the Asian game, undermining patronizing views toward Asian soccer and its products.

He was never a superstar on the field, but Park’s play and presence still helped augment the faces of Manchester United and the Premier League. That he was one of the league’s most well-respected players while doing so undoubtedly paved the way for others, including Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland), Park Chu-Young (Arsenal), Chung-Yong Lee (Bolton, now relegated), and former Premier Leaguers like Lee Young-Pyo (now with Vancouver of MLS).

Part of moving from Old Trafford means that influence diminishes, but with seven year’s legacy place, Park can proudly say his work at United is done.

By the numbers

Look what I swiped from Wikipedia:

Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 2005–06 34 1 2 0 3 1 6 0 0 0 45 2
2006–07 14 5 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 20 5
2007–08 12 1 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 18 1
2008–09 25 2 3 1 1 0 9 1 2 0 40 4
2009–10 17 3 0 0 2 0 6 1 1 0 26 4
2010–11 15 5 1 0 2 2 9 1 1 0 28 8
2011–12 17 2 1 1 3 0 7 0 0 0 28 3
2012–13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 134 19 14 2 11 3 42 3 4 0 205 27

Bayern Munich win streak stopped short of Guinness World Record

Bayern Munich streak
Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images
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The Guinness World Record people can cancel their midweek trip to Munich, unless they want to go for pleasure in place of business.

Coritiba’s 2011 world record for wins (24) is safe after Bayern Munich failed to match it in a 4-1 loss to Hoffenheim on Sunday at PreZero Arena, also ending a 32-match unbeaten run for Hansi Flick’s Bavarians.

[ MORE: Schalke fires Wagner ]

Maybe a slightly-weakened Bayern was weary from Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup defeat of Sevilla in Hungary.

Maybe Bayern men overlooked Hoffenheim with Wednesday’s German Super Cup date with rivals Borussia Dortmund on the docket

Or maybe it was just inevitable given the quality of football teams in the world and the fact that Hoffenheim played pretty well.

Regardless, Bayern made it five big German teams to drop points this week when Andrej Kramaric scored twice to join Munas Dabbur and Ermin Bicakcic in sending Hoffenheim to all three points (Borussia Dortmund lost Saturday, while Leipzig, Gladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen all drew).

Joshua Kimmich was good as usual for Bayern and brought the score to 2-1 by halftime, but Kramaric’s goals came in the 77th minute and deep in stoppage time as Hoffenheim overcame 28 percent possession to win.

Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka started on the bench in favor of Joshua Zirkzee and Corentin Tolisso, but entered the match in the 57th minute and could not produce an equalizer.

Hoffenheim joins Augsburg as the lone 2-0 teams in the Bundesliga, though Freiburg can join them Sunday with a win over Wolfsburg. All the burgs.

Newcastle’s Bruce: Handball rule ‘nonsense’ hurting the game

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Given most of the words coming out of Steve Bruce’s mouth, you would’ve thought the penalty given late in a 1-1 draw between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United hurt his side.

But Bruce did not mince words when asked about VAR awarding Newcastle a stoppage-time penalty for Andy Carroll’s late header onto the back of Eric Dier’s arm that allowed Callum Wilson to take a point for the Magpies at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

In fact, toss in the penalty given against Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward on Saturday and Bruce thinks the managers should approach the Premier League and demand change.

“I can understand why Spurs are going to go berserk and the way Roy Hodgson reacted yesterday,” Bruce said after the game. “It’s a total nonsense. Look we got one today and we should be jumping for joy and through hoops but I’d be devastated if it was against us. The handball rule has been around for years but the decisions are, for me, ruining the spectacles. It’s great for me today but I think we have to get together as the managers, coaches and go to the Premier League and say it must stop.”‘

What will the Premier League do about the rule and how VAR interprets it? Stay tuned…

Newcastle moves to 1-1-1 on the season to match Spurs but the Magpies did little to deserve the point aside from Karl Darlow’s 11-save day between the sticks.

It was Newcastle’s first penalty conversion after missing the only one awarded to them in 2019-20 and two of three in 2018-19.

Mourinho: Spurs’ Son out ‘a while’; Comments on VAR controversy

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Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho was enraged as VAR and FIFA’s odd handball rule conspired with a magnificent performance from Newcastle’s backup goalkeeper to take points away from Spurs in stoppage time on Sunday.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce wasn’t too happy either, calling it “a total nonsense” despite the decision helping his Magpies to a point.

[ RECAP: Spurs 1-1 Newcastle ]

Spurs dominated but only Lucas Moura found a way past Newcastle’s Karl Darlow on an 11-save day at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

That looked like it would be enough until Newcastle’s Andy Carroll nodded a free kick onto the arm of Eric Dier, who was not facing the play, and Callum Wilson smashed home the spot kick.

“I can understand why Spurs are going to go berserk and the way Roy Hodgson reacted yesterday,” Bruce said after the game. “It’s a total nonsense.”

Mourinho tried not to comment too much on the incident except to imply that Spurs get worse calls in their 18 than other teams.

“Every box is 18-yard box but we know that the Tottenham box is a special box so we managed to keep them a-ways away,” he said. “And we had that situation where we lost two points but I’m not going to comment.”

Mourinho refused to be drawn into the handball discussion on television after the game, giving praise to his team and wishing not earn a fine.

“I don’t want to speak about it. If I want to give some money away, I give to charities. I don’t want to give to the FA,” he said.

“I think about my team performance. Very good. First half, amazing. Should be three-, four-nil easy but Darlow was fantastic. We hit the post and they managed to survive. In the second half we kept control and kept them from the box.”

Mourinho also said that star forward Heung-min Son will miss “a while” with a hamstring injury, as the rain is pouring down on North London.

Son has been wonderful this season and was in a particularly rich vein of form after scoring four times last weekend and starring in Thursday’s Europa League win in Macedonia.

Gareth Bale will hope to heal even quicker now.

Newcastle backup GK Darlow, VAR steal point from wasteful Spurs

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Tottenham – Newcastle United: Karl Darlow helped Newcastle United stick around and VAR helped them go level as the Magpies committed larceny in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Sunday.

Darlow made 11 saves, seven of which came from shots inside the box as Spurs out-attempted Newcastle 23-6.

[ MORE: Mourinho livid | Bruce, too! ]

The visitors got a penalty off an unknowing Eric Dier handball and Callum Wilson beat Hugo Lloris deep in stoppage time to earn a point and move Newcastle and Spurs to 1-1-1 on the season.

Lucas Moura put Spurs ahead but they could not find a second goal following a 10-day span which saw them play in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Tottenham lost Heung-min Son to a hamstring injury and Jose Mourinho said the South Korean will be “out a while.”

Newcastle beat Spurs 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last season, as Steve Bruce has now taken points from Mauricio Pochettino and Mourinho.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  


Three things we learned: Tottenham – Newcastle United

1. What travel? Spurs have played matches in England, Bulgaria, and Macedonia over the last 10 days, so a sluggish start might’ve been expected in North London. Instead, Jose Mourinho’s men raged out of the gates and could’ve been up 4-0 inside of a half-hour if not for Karl Darlow’s success in limiting the damage to one.

2. Oh, that travel: Spurs’ second half was significantly lackluster and Newcastle stuck around albeit with a distinct lack of threat. Introductions of Jamal Lewis, Jacob Murphy, and Andy Carroll ultimately did affect the game as the big Geordie’s header went off Dier’s arm for the equalizing penalty.

3. VAR has its new storyline: If you thought changes to the handball rule had straightened-out any controversy with VAR, you were sorely mistaken. Eric Dier had an Andy Carroll header hit the back of his splayed arm. VAR asked the head referee to go to the television screen after the play was ruled onside despite challenging visual evidence, and he gave the penalty to Newcastle for 1-1.

Man of the Match

Darlow. Spurs were credited with four big chances (SofaScore) and scored once to go with 11 saves for Martin Dubravka’s backup.


Tottenham – Newcastle United recap

Karl Darlow made two quick stops in a solid defiance of a Tottenham free kick from Giovani Lo Celso and a rebound effort from Harry Kane, then stymying a point-blank Harry Kane header.

Moura gave Spurs a deserved lead in the 25th as Kane slid a cross through the six and Newcastle’s backs were nowhere to be found.

Matt Ritchie was at the back post for that Spurs goal and was slow to react on what became a 2v1 chance broken up by Jamaal Lascelles.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Son that rattled the bar in the 42nd as Tottenham seemed well on its way to a blowout win but could not find the second marker.

Newcastle’s only real danger came on a Jonjo Shelvey volley that missed the far post in first-half stoppage. Would it be a cakewalk? Kinda-sorta.

Newcastle was wrongly-awarded a corner kick that ended with Joelinton ripping wide of the far post but the Magpies mostly struggled to manufacture danger despite Spurs growing weary in the second 45.

That’s when the late penalty call came via VAR. Dier dodged one late handball in the box but not a second in a call that will increase the attention paid to the handball.